Canterbury CPNZ and Police work to prevent crime with signage trailers in Canterbury Area. 

John O’Hara & Murray Alison (SCP) with Senior Constable Andy Williamson

By: Dharni Manga

While it is now illegal to use a cellphone while driving, we all see the person in the car next to us texting or using social media at a stop sign.

The Canterbury Policing District have taken the rising issue into their own hands with the help of some of the Rural Canterbury Community Patrol Groups; Selwyn, Malvern, Ashburton and Rangiora. Starting in Selwyn, 24/7 digital signage trailers have been set up with large electronic signs saying ‘NO CELLPHONE USE” on rural roads to prevent crime and ensure road safety. The trailers are owned by Fulton Hogan, primary stakeholders. 

The Patrols have aided the police by helping the police select the messages which would go on the signs – Selwyn Patrol decided to trial the signage using the “No Cellphone Use’ as Selwyn Police and Patrollers believed this was a more prominent issue. Senior Constable Williamson, of Selwyn Police believes “[cellphones] are a major distraction (and) cause a large amount of crashes”.  

As of 2017, NZTA have reported distraction crashes have amounted to 40 deaths, 240 serious injuries and over 1000 minor injuries.

Murray Allison of SCP hopes at the very least, people will be more inclined to think twice before using their cellphones. He says, 

For the brief period of time that we made observations we were not aware 

of anyone using their cell phones while driving whereas if we were to stand 

at the same intersection with no sign we could almost guarantee to 

see a number of vehicles where the driver was using their cellphone.” 


Community Patrollers also helped to tow trailers to different sites with either the same message or completely different messages to help crime prevention in rural areas.